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As Scranton School Boar Accepts Applications For Vacancy, Directors Must Decide Whether To Run Again

February 8, 2019
As Scranton Board Accepts Applications For Vacancy, Directors Must Decide Whether To Run Again

SCRANTON — The Scranton School Board could look drastically different by the end of the year.

As the district begins to accept applications for the latest vacancy, current directors must decide whether to run in the May 21 primary election. Voters will decide who will hold six of nine seats on the board.

Five four-year seats will be on the ballot — seats now held by Paul Duffy, Bob Lesh, Gopal Patel, Greg Popil and Tom Schuster. One two-year seat will also be up, the seat originally held by Robert Casey, who resigned last month, with nearly three years left on his term. The person the board appoints at the end of this month will have to decide whether to be on the primary ballot. The first day to circulate petitions is Feb. 19. Two incumbents — Duffy and Lesh — said they will not seek another term.

Unlike the vacancy the board filled in December, when directors broke the Sunshine Act and appointed Patel without seeking applications, the board will follow its rules for Casey’s seat.

“I am delighted that we’re following the policy,” Director Katie Gilmartin said. “I think that’s a step in the right direction. I’m thrilled there will be time for people to come forward.”

People interested in filling the vacancy should email a resume and completed application to Virginia.Orr@ssdedu.org or mail them to Board Secretary, 425 N. Washington Ave., Scranton, PA 18503. Applications will be accepted until noon on Thursday, Feb. 21. Applications are available on the district website, www.scrsd.org, or by request from the board secretary.

A special meeting to interview and select the next director will be held 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25, in the board room of the Administration Building. A work session will take place following the special meeting.

Gilmartin, Barbara Dixon and Mark McAndrew are the only directors not up for re-election. McAndrew is running for Scranton City Council but can keep his seat on the board if the bid is unsuccessful.

Gilmartin said that as directors prepare to pick a replacement for Casey, she hopes to find a community-minded person with integrity and an ability to weigh the pros and cons of any situation.

Popil, appointed in November, said he will seek election. When filling Casey’s appointment, Popil said he wants to find someone to push fiscal responsibility and be open to state assistance.

Schuster said he also plans on running for another term.

“The board is changing,” he said. “We’re at a crossroads. We’re at a historic point with this district. We’re going to need some people ready to deal with what’s coming.”

Duffy, who would like the appointee to have kids in the district to better understand the effects of the board’s decisions, said he will not seek re-election.

“I just don’t think that the amount of time it takes away from family and raising my kids is any longer worth the sacrifice,” Duffy said.

Lesh recently said he would not run again. Attempts to reach him and Patel were unsuccessful Thursday.

Contact the writer: shofius@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9133; @hofiushallTT on Twitter

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